The Mother(board) Of All Hybrid Processors

Elitegroup Computer Systems USA (ECS), Fremont, Calif., has begun shipping the PF88 hybrid motherboard, which lists between $120 and $130. The system can support a Socket 775 Intel Pentium 4 processor or a Socket 939 Athlon 64 chip from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

System builders will increasingly find themselves in the middle of the battle between processor makers.

“This is an initial design concept from a business perspective,” said Joe Chang, director of product marketing at ECS. Other system builders and power users are in the early stages of providing feedback on the hybrid motherboard. “I think time will prove our theory to be correct,” Chang said.

It is expected that system builders will increasingly find themselves in the middle of the battle between AMD, Sunnyvale, Calif., and Intel, Santa Clara, Calif., over the next 12 months as both processor makers roll out dual-core chips, virtualization and other new technologies.

Eventually, Chang sees a market for a broader range of boards that will support processors from both Intel and AMD. In addition to the performance and flexibility benefits, he said, the ability of system builders and OEMs to carry one set of motherboards that can support both processor manufacturers will reduce inventory needs. ECS is already planning hybrid products for more desktops and notebooks.

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”It&s been quiet in the motherboard business,” Chang said. “Finally, people will have something to talk about.”

ECS, whose parent company is based in Taiwan, is the combined company resulting from its merger with PCChips. ECS is working to define itself as a maker of higher-end, innovative components for high-performance systems, according to See See Lo, CEO. Among other things, Lo said she hopes to extend PCChips& success in the Latin American market—where it is known as one of the top component brands—to the United States.

Aside from providing components and motherboards, ECS also builds both branded and unbranded desktops and notebooks and has developed a line of entertainment PCs.